Chances are if you’ve shopped around for a security camera in the last few years, you’ve come across Arlo. Arlo has made a name for itself with its innovative, 100% wireless security camera systems and its variety of individual security camera options.
|Arlo Pro 2||Arlo|
|Starter pack price||$479.99||$629.99|
|Number of cameras||2||5|
|Field of view||130°||110°|
|Operating temp.||-4° to 113° F (-20° C to 45° C)||14° to 122° F (-10° C to 50° C)|
|View product||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
Since the original Arlo was introduced, Netgear has made a few upgrades to its acclaimed camera system with both the Arlo Pro and Arlo Pro 2. We’re pitting the latest version (Arlo Pro 2) against the OG wireless camera to see how they compare and whether the Pro 2 is worth the upgrade.
The answer is both yes and no. It really depends on what you need out of a camera system and how much you’re willing to spend to get it. Here’s our breakdown of what the Arlo Pro 2 and original Arlo bring to the table and which we’d choose for particular use cases.
Key differences between Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo
- Price: The Arlo Pro 2 starter kit price is cheaper, but the original Arlo starter kit offers a better deal.
- Video resolution: There’s no question that the Arlo Pro 2 delivers higher-quality video (1080p), which is better for catching bad guys.
- Camera quantity: The original Arlo starter kit comes with five cameras, so you can get more video coverage without overstretching your budget.
- Field of view: Arlo Pro 2 covers more ground with a larger field of view (20° more than Arlo).
- Operating temperature: The original Arlo handles heat better than the Arlo Pro 2, but the Pro 2 can conquer colder climates as low as -4° F.
- Advanced features: Arlo Pro 2 has so many more cool features than the Arlo that it’s not even close. But some advanced features require you to sacrifice others.
As you can see, there’s a bit of back-and-forth on which Arlo system delivers the goods for different circumstances.
The Arlo Pro 2 starter kit price is cheaper, but the original Arlo starter kit offers a better deal.
Arlo has quite a few pricing breakdowns you’ll need to be aware of before you can really gauge how much it’s going to cost you. The first is the initial cost of the equipment (sold as starter kits). This includes a number of cameras and an Arlo base station as a central control module.
Starter kit and camera pricing
|Arlo Pro 2||Arlo|
|Starter kit price (includes base station)||$479.99||$629.99|
|Additional camera price||$219.99||$159.99|
The Arlo Pro 2 starter kit looks like a lower startup cost until you realize it comes with just two cameras. For just a little more money (roughly the price of one additional camera), you’ll get five cameras with the original Arlo starter kit. The choice comes down to quality over quantity, although the original Arlo is still a quality camera system—it’s just not packed with premium features like the newer Pro 2.
Arlo Smart plans
|Plan||Price||Storage length||Number of cameras|
|Arlo Smart Basic||Free||7 days||Up to 5|
|Arlo Smart Add-on||$2.99/mo.||7 days||Up to 5|
|Arlo Smart Premier||$9.99/mo.||30 days||Up to 10|
|Arlo Smart Elite||$14.99/mo.||60 days||Up to 20|
The second cost to consider with an Arlo camera is additional cloud storage through Arlo’s Arlo Smart plans. Arlo Smart makes your cameras, well, smarter. You get access to features like person detection and motion zones as well as “rich notifications” through the mobile app. That basically means you can see photos and media directly on your phone’s lockscreen without having to enter the Arlo app.
Arlo Smart Tip
You don’t have to subscribe to an Arlo Smart plan. Arlo gives you seven days of free cloud storage even without one, which is pretty generous compared to other camera makers. But without Arlo Smart, you do miss out on some good perks, including the ability to call your local 911 operators directly from your smartphone, whether you’re in your home area or not.
À la carte CVR pricing
|Number of days||Monthly price per camera||Annual price per camera|
|7 days||$0 (included)||$0 (included)|
The final (optional) expense is Arlo’s à-la-carte Continuous Video Recording (CVR) options. The main difference between this service and the previous cloud subscription is that CVR will record footage to the cloud 24/7, whereas the other service records only footage triggered by motion or sound.
Instead of a series of video clips throughout the day, CVR records a continuous stream of footage. Sounds cool, right? Well, it is. But keep in mind that the CVR option charges per camera, so it can get pricey really quickly.
There’s no question that the Arlo Pro 2 delivers higher-quality video (1080p), which is better for catching bad guys.
1080p > 720p. It’s really that simple. The Arlo Pro 2 is the first Arlo camera to offer the higher HD resolution, which you could argue is the biggest reason to upgrade from a previous version (or spend the extra money to begin with).
Higher-resolution video means you’ll get more detailed images, so you can capture things like license plate numbers or facial features a lot more easily than you can with a lower resolution. Basically, it makes it easier to identify the bad guy, which is kind of the point anyway.
Although the original Arlo doesn’t have the same level of video footage, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great option. Video footage is still useful no matter how clear it is, and it helps that 720p video doesn’t take up as much storage space as 1080p. If you want to save on storage costs, you could opt for the lower-resolution video and save more footage with minimal storage space.
Number of cameras
The original Arlo starter kit comes with five cameras, so you can get more video coverage without overstretching your budget.
Quality over quantity isn’t always the way to go. It really depends on what you value more. Since security cameras have been proven to deter burglars,1 the more cameras you have around your property, the better you can protect it. If you have a large property and coverage is your primary concern, you might be better off with the original Arlo system—especially if you’re trying to stick to a budget.
The Arlo Pro 2 is by far the better camera in terms of specs and features, but it’s going to cost a whole lot more to fill out a full system with Arlo Pro 2s than with the original Arlo.
For $629.99, you’ll get five cameras with the original Arlo starter kit. To get the same number of cameras with Arlo Pro 2, it’s almost twice as much ($1,139.99). You’ll have to decide if the advanced features are worth a Scrooge McDuck pile of money.
Field of view
Arlo Pro 2 covers more ground with a larger field of view (20° more than Arlo).
Along with higher resolution, the Arlo Pro 2 has a wider field of view than the original Arlo. Twenty degrees might not sound like a big deal, but have you ever watched an old movie on a widescreen TV where you get those two black bars on the side because the aspect ratio is different? That’s kind of how it feels with the Arlo’s 110° vs. the Arlo Pro 2’s 130°. You’ll cover more surface area with the wider FOV that Arlo Pro 2 provides.
The original Arlo handles heat better than the Arlo Pro 2, but the Pro 2 can conquer climates as cold as -4° F.
The original Arlo might be your best option if you live in an area with extreme heat, since it can handle temperatures up to 122° F. Depending on where you install your camera, though, the temperature outside might not reflect the temperature of your camera.
Direct sunlight or close proximity to hot surfaces that radiate heat (think shingles or dark-colored garage doors) can potentially make your camera hotter. So if you live in an area where temperatures consistently reach triple digits, you might want to stick with the original.
For colder climates, it’s a different story. Unlike the original version, the Arlo Pro 2 can withstand sub-zero temperatures as low as -4° F, so if you live in Winterfell somewhere with freezing winters, you’re better off upgrading to the Arlo Pro 2, even if it might cost a little more.
Keep in mind: Cold temperatures can affect battery life. Keep an eye on your battery levels if you live in a cold climate—they might drain faster than anticipated.
Arlo Pro 2 has so many more cool features than the Arlo that it’s not even close. But some advanced features require you to sacrifice others.
It’s not really a contest when it comes to advanced features. The Arlo Pro 2, hands down, has more features than the Arlo. Here’s a side-by-side comparison so you can see what we’re talking about.
Arlo Pro 2
- 100% wireless (Wi-Fi + battery powered)
- Night vision
- Sound and advanced motion detection
- Free cloud storage
- Activity Zones
- 3-second Look Back
- 2-way audio
- Smart security siren
- Alexa, IFTTT & Stringify integration
- 100% wireless (Wi-Fi + battery powered)
- Night vision
- Motion alerts
- Free cloud storage
We’ll give you a quick rundown of some of the more notable advanced features the Arlo Pro 2 brings to the table:
- Activity Zones: Allow you to select specific areas of focus within a camera’s view and customize alerts when activity is detected in that area.
- 3-second Look Back: Gives you the ability to rewind footage three seconds before a trigger event occurred.
- Smart security siren: 100+ decibel siren that sounds when triggered by motion, sound, or remote access via the Arlo smartphone app.
- Alexa and IFTTT integration: Allows you to view live footage via Echo Show or connect Phillips Hue lights to motion detection feature.
The original Arlo may not have all the bells and whistles, but neither does the Arlo Pro 2 unless it’s plugged in and used indoors (see our Heads up! box). If you’re not too worried about shiny features, the original Arlo will get the job done without making you choose between features and flexibility.
The bottom line
You should get Arlo Pro 2 if…
- You want higher-quality video footage
- You’re into advanced features
- You’re not worried about budget
- You live in a cold climate
The Arlo Pro 2 is clearly the better overall camera. It’s an impressive improvement on the original Arlo in almost every way. It handles colder weather. It has better video quality and a wider FOV. And it packs in a bunch of useful, advanced features. The Arlo Pro 2 is a fantastic, if somewhat pricey, security camera system with a lot of flexibility and room to grow.
For more details on the Arlo Pro 2, check out our full review.
You should get Arlo if…
- You want more cameras for less money (particularly large properties)
- You live in a climate with extreme heat
Although the original Arlo gives up a lot of ground to the new and improved Arlo Pro 2, it’s still worth the look if you want a quality security camera system that gives you maximum coverage for a good price. You can get five original Arlo cameras for nearly half the price of five Arlo Pro 2s. Sure, you’ll sacrifice advanced features and video quality, but the sheer volume of cameras for the price is hard to ignore.
1. The Guardian, “Former Burglars Say Barking Dogs and CCTV Are Best Deterrent”